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Ross: Shut down Education, Labor, Commerce instead of raising debt ceiling

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Rep. Dennis Ross (photo by Blair Tomlinson)If Congress can’t raise the debt ceiling, says Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., it’s all good. We’ll just shut down the Education, Labor, and Commerce departments. Maybe a few others, too, and turn their duties over to the states. Here’s the chairman of the House federal workforce subcommittee in a July 9 op-ed:

The federal government takes in about $175 billion per month in tax revenues. … We spend about $30 billion per month on debt interest. Without raising the debt ceiling, we can still service our debt. That leaves the government $145 billion per month, without borrowing. Tax revenue currently covers 67 percent of federal expenses. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, debt interest and social safety net programs consume 60 percent of our budget — i.e. they are fully covered with existing revenue.

Granted, the departments of Education, Labor, Commerce and other bureaucracies that have enjoyed double-digit budget increases the past 10 years will have to shut down. But this is where our differences truly materialize. I believe that states such as Florida can educate our kids, ensure a safe workplace, promote our products and are closest to the people. [emphasis added]

Ross also calls for implementing many of the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction proposals, including switching the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to a premium support system as a pilot test for doing the same to Medicare:

The  bipartisan commission suggests capping discretionary spending to pre-2008 levels, cuts to both nondefense and defense discretionary spending (yes, the Department of Defense is overflowing in wasteful spending), cutting the federal workforce by 10 percent or more, and eliminating all congressional earmarks. Regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican uttered these suggestions, these are good ideas.

Ross opens his column by comparing Republicans and Democrats’ relationship to the uneasy partnership between Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: “Even if they don’t trust each other, [they] need to work together to solve our looming debt-and-entitlement budget crisis. (Of course, in that movie Blondie and Tuco spent nearly three hours trying to kill each other while hunting buried Confederate gold, so that may not bode well for deficit negotiations.)

But Ross’ analogy raises another question. If Republicans and Democrats are the Good and the Ugly … who would that make the Bad?

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  1. Clint Says:
    July 13th, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    A shutdown of the government sounds like a positive, they’re useless.

  2. Syed Says:
    July 14th, 2011 at 9:35 am

    The bad? The Republcans. The ugly? Darrell Issa, Dennis Ross, and Eric Cantor.

  3. mzoda24 Says:
    July 14th, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Reply to Clint

    You might think a shutdown sounds positive now, but let’s see if you think so when there’s no one around to take care of the things you take for granted.

  4. Jim Says:
    July 14th, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    So if I get this right, Mr. Ross wants to eliminate 3 branches of federal government outright. Where do the workers in these departments go? The states certainly can’t afford to take them in. Throwing workers out seems to be his idea for most everything. sad.

  5. MacDoc Says:
    July 15th, 2011 at 4:29 am

    Better to shut down, DEA, ATF, FDA, EPA and DOT. These are the most corrupt Agencies in the US Gov.

  6. Ed Says:
    July 16th, 2011 at 8:15 am

    There you have it folks, rather than pay for what George W. already spent, tea party Ross would rather us become a dead beat nation and destroy tens of thousands of middle class pay checks, plus risk that interest rates will go up for everyone. Jerks like Ross only know how to kill jobs and the necessary public services most voters take for granted just to line the pockets of their wealthy friends that are feeding off the public trough, like Ross himself.

  7. SMC Says:
    July 26th, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Congressman Ross has exactly the right idea. Term limits and a balanced budget are the only real solutions to ending this madness. How is it my junior high school son can balance the fed budget using any of the dozens of online sim’s, but the pol’s in Washington can’t? …the power has rotted their brains

  8. Kennedy Says:
    July 26th, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    If I were king, I’d take a chain saw to the federal budget. As I see it, the government has a boat load of useless departments and support staff, funds meaningless research pgms, yada, yada, yada. It’s time those in office stop thinking of themselves as some type of gods vs. common Americans like the rest of us. They could learn a lot from President Truman’s views on how to serve then return home without special privileges. Don’t back down Congressman Ross, you have the correct strategy!